The Raiders put 21 players on all-league teams while 10 Cougars earned all-league recognition.
The HDL Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards all came to the Rail City. McQueen’s senior running back Lucas Weber was named the HDL Offensive Player of the Year and the Lancer’s Sione Asi was named the Lineman of the Year.
•After earning his 100th career win earlier in the season, and leading the Raiders to their third consecutive North title — fourth in five years — Ernie Howren was named the High Desert League Coach of the Year.
Howren made a habit of praising his coaching staff throughout the year and that did not change after receiving the award.
“You know, the thing I take out of that, that I’m most happy for, is that the entire coaching staff gets recognized,” Howren said. “It says ‘Coach of the Year’ but I always feel like it should say ‘Coaching Staff of the Year’ because without (the assistant coaches) there is no way we would be doing what we are doing.”
Senior defensive back Austin Warner led the list of Raiders on all-league teams, grabbing the HDL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
“What can you say about Austin? He did everything we asked of him and then some. He was our defensive leader,” Howren said. “He’s just one of those guys and that’s why he’s Defensive Player of the Year, because everybody knows where No. 8 (Warner) is on the field at any given time when we’re on defense.”
Joining Warner as HDL First-Team selections were senior running back Jordan de Leon (also First-Team All-Region, state record 33 rushing touchdowns this season), senior wide receiver Trae Wells (First-Team All-Region, 76 receptions, 1,266 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns), junior offensive guard Cody Carr (First-Team All-Region), senior center Damon Gebhardt (First-Team All-Region), junior offensive tackle Cody DeHann (First-Team All-Region), senior defensive end Calvin Cox (First-Team All-Region), junior defensive tackle Alden Giang and junior linebacker Jordyn Rather (First-Team All-Region).
Reed’s Second-Team selections were: senior quarterback Chris Denn (4,112 yards of offense and 40 touchdowns), senior wide receiver Wade Eiler, Cox again as an offensive tackle, junior defensive end Juan White, sophomore defensive tackle Nick Gregg, senior linebacker Ryan Mollenberg and senior defensive backs Collin Palian and Sean Lancaster.
Lancaster sealed Reed’s third straight North title with an interception in the end zone in the final minute against Carson.
The Raiders’ Honorable Mention selections were: senior offensive guard Wylie Watkins, Brock as punter, junior linebacker Sione Taukiuvea and sophomore running back Jorden Carter.
Carter (seven touchdowns this season) played a major part in the Raiders’ ground game while de Leon worked through an injury early in the season.
“It already feels like we as a coaching staff, and the kids already, we’re already talking about 2014 and I think Jorden Carter figures to be a big part of 2014,” Howren said. “I am very excited about what Jorden can bring to the table next year.”
The laundry list of Raiders who received all-league recognition makes a loud statement about the best football program in the North and arguably the second-best in Nevada.
“Yeah I guess in some ways it does say that we’re in a good spot,” Howren said. “You know we’ve got great kids and great coaches and things are definitely going in the right direction. It’s nice to see everybody getting the recognition they deserve right now.”
Spanish Springs Cougars
The Cougars were led this season, on the field, and in all-league recognition, by senior quarterback Hunter Fralick, the HDL Player of the Year and the DI North’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Fralick, who has given a verbal commitment to play at the University of Nevada next year, accounted for more than 3,700 yards of offense and 33 touchdowns this fall. He was edged out for North Player of the Year by Galena’s Chaz Clark (WR/DB).
“I have no problem with Chaz getting player of the year because he played both ways and he was a huge player for Galena,” Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare said. “But I still think from a pure standpoint of playing the position you play and being the best, I think Hunter is not only the best quarterback in the state but probably the best overall football player in the state.”
A rare athlete, Hare said Fralick would have been an All-North linebacker had the coaching staff allowed their star quarterback to play on the defensive side of the ball.
Another all-around athlete, Gehrig Parks, also hauled in heavy all-league recognition for the Cougs. The senior set the school record for career receptions, grabbing 118 passes from his best bud, and was named a First-Team wide receiver (also All-North), and a Second-Team defensive back as well as return specialist.
“I think Gehrig, I said this at the banquet too, I really think, and it’s a huge compliment to him, I really think he’s an overachiever …,” Hare said. “When it’s all said and done, and you’re sitting somewhere having a pop 30 years from now, you want to be able to say ‘I have no regrets’ and I think he will be able to say (that).”
Senior Anthony Walsh also landed on multiple all-league teams, earning First-Team defensive tackle recognition and was named to the Second Team for his play at center.
Spanish Springs’ other Second-Team selections were: senior running back Jeff Jurgensmeier, junior offensive tackle Justin Anukam, senior defensive end Brik Chesley and senior linebacker Cobi Maehara.
Junior wide receiver Trevor Listman, junior tight end Jacob White and senior offensive guard Avory Wyatt were named Honorable Mention.
After going winless for the second straight year, the Railroaders list of players receiving all-league recognition wasn’t nearly as long as the Cougars’ or Raiders’ but three seniors did receive accolades.
Offensive lineman Willie Martinez, defensive lineman Chase Kynast and running back Cedric Sanchez were each named Div. I-A North Honorable Mention selections.